When it comes to exercise, it can be difficult sometimes to know whether or not your workout is actually working for you. After all, no two body types are exactly alike, and stamina, metabolic rate, agility, threshold for pain, etc. can vary greatly from person to person. So how can you tell whether your exercise routines are hitting the target or not? If you're experiencing the below issues, you could be working out all wrong.
1. Your workouts leave you exhausted instead of invigorated.
Working out, when done correctly, will actually invigorate and energize you. The very act of getting your body moving will begin to release "feel-good" endorphins in your system that can help boost your energy levels and improve your overall mood. While some fatigue is normal after a good workout, you shouldn't feel like the very life has been drained out of you. This is one of the signs of overtraining, which simply means that you've pushed your body too far. To help remedy the situation, you can experiment with slightly reducing the intensity, duration or frequency of your workouts (whichever metric makes the most sense) and see if it makes a difference in how you feel after you work out.
2. You're sustaining injuries.
This is perhaps one of the more obvious signs of a workout gone wrong, but it's definitely worth mentioning because it can be tempting to adopt the mindset of "no pain, no gain" in an incorrect manner. While it's true that your body will be put under a certain amount of physical stress when working out, you shouldn't be feeling any debilitating pain while exercising. This could be a sign of improper form or technique, both of which can lead to injuries that can sabotage your exercise efforts.
Whether you're weightlifting or doing cardio, make sure you're moving in a smooth, non-jerky manner, and with good form. It does no good to compromise good form just to push your limits if you're not employing proper technique; this can ultimately undermine what you're trying to accomplish with your workouts. If you're not sure your form is correct, ask a personal trainer to help you, and then watch yourself in a mirror to check your form as you move through your exercises.
3. You haven't seen any physical changes in a few months.
When you first start an exercise program, there will always be a certain period of time in which it will appear as though your efforts are for nothing; this is one of the most difficult times to push through when you're beginning your fitness journey.
That being said, if you've been working out consistently and eating healthy for a few months now and you haven't seen even the slightest bit of change in your body (e.g., pounds lost, inches lost, firmer muscles, etc.), it could be a sign that you're not working out hard enough. You may need to try stepping up the intensity of your workouts by adding more exercises to your routine, or possibly resting for less time between exercises. You can also try working out more days per week. Experiment with different adjustments, and carefully monitor the results.
4. You stay sore all the time.
It's one thing to be sore the next day after you've put in some solid time at the gym, but it's another thing entirely when you're basically sore all the time, and you feel as if your body's simply not recovering. Chronic soreness could mean that you're pushing it too hard with your workouts, but it could also mean that you're either not getting enough sleep or you're not feeding your body what it needs to properly recover.
If you're engaging in strenuous exercise on a regular basis, you absolutely need protein to help your muscles recover. You also need to get enough sleep at night so that your body can repair itself. Again, a little soreness is not uncommon, but chronic soreness should definitely merit your attention.
No matter what type of workout you're doing, it's vitally important for you to listen to your body, and make the appropriate adjustments based on the signals that it gives you. Your body will more than likely complain a little when you're pushing through a difficult workout, but you should do your best to recognize when you might be moving into overtraining territory.
It's also a good idea to enlist the help of a certified personal trainer who can customize a workout plan for your specific body type and exercise goals. With their experience and professional insight, they can ensure that you're performing the exercises correctly, and that you're maximizing every aspect of your workout regimen to achieve your fitness objectives.